The US Olympic women’s team is staying at the Saddlebrook Resort and training just about every day at the new Center Ice facility in Wesley Chapel.
They’ll be there until the Winter Games start in February in South Korea.
“We love the area. It’s been really great. All of those different pieces coming together is a big reason why we are here,” said team forward Megan Duggan.
When they aren’t playing hockey, the team is experiencing everything Pasco County and Tampa Bay has to offer, including shopping at area malls and eating at area restaurants.
“Girls do a lot of different things when we have a day off. Some girls are hitting the beach. We play a lot of golf; catching some pool time and things like that,” said Duggan.
Tuesday, the team got a proclamation from Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore.
He said new facilities and an aggressive mission to bring in sports tourism are changing the county’s image.
“We are growing by leaps and bounds. If somebody said we were going to have 24 of the top athletes in the world here in Pasco County training, it would be hard to imagine,” said Moore.
More teams are coming too to add to the economic impact.
Finland, Canada, and Sweden will join the U.S. for a tournament at Center Ice next month.
“It’s been great to really help grown the game, especially get more girls playing. And we are hoping that we can really set the fire for the next generation down here,” said forward Jocelyne Lamoureux.
Winning a gold medal would sure help!
That’s something the US women’s team is trying to do for the first time since 1998.
To see the USWNT schedule while they're in the area, click here.